In Bangladesh, college students typically depend on after faculty studying facilities for research assist or take a look at preparation, however most of the finest ones are concentrated in main cities. Edtech startup Shikho was created to make supplementary schooling extra accessible and inexpensive. The corporate introduced at this time it has closed a $1.three million seed spherical co-led by returning investor LearnStart (the seed fund of edtech funding agency Study Capital) and Anchorless Bangladesh.
The spherical additionally included participation from Wavemaker Companions and Ankur Nagpal, founder and chief govt officer of on-line course platform Teachable. Shikho’s final spherical of funding was $275,000 in pre-seed financing final yr from LearnStart and strategic angel buyers.
Based in April 2019, Shikho is targeted on grades 9, 10, 11 and 12, with plans to introduce content material for grades 6 as much as college degree and steady schooling. Its studying materials, created by educators and topic consultants, is predicated on the Bangladeshi Nationwide Curriculum. To maintain college students engaged, it makes use of gamification methods, like factors, leaderboards and digital awards.
Shikho was based in April 2019 by CEO Shahir Chowdhury, who beforehand labored in finance and enterprise, together with as a director at HSBC UK’s Personal Financial institution, and chief working officer Zeeshan Zakaria, who additionally labored in finance earlier than turning into a arithmetic instructor.
Each grew up in Dhaka earlier than transferring to the UK, the place they went to college. Chowdhury advised TechCrunch that even whereas working in finance, his aim was to launch a socially impactful enterprise in Bangladesh.
At first, Chowdhury checked out fintech due to his profession expertise, however realized there have been already many gamers centered on monetary inclusion in Bangladesh, like bKash. He began fascinated by schooling–Chowdhury’s father is a retired professor and his mom nonetheless teaches highschool. Then by coincidence, he labored on a shopper report concerning the emergence of Indian and Chinese language edtech startups, like Byju’s and Toppr.
“I attempted to grasp what edtech was and why it was working in these markets and why it didn’t exist in Bangladesh,” stated Chowdhury. “Once I checked out that carefully, there was no motive for it to not exist in Bangladesh. From an macroeconomic perspective, you might have all the weather you want. You have got a really massive inhabitants, about 165 million folks, and half of that’s below the age of 25.”
Chowdhury reached out to Zakaria to guide Shikho’s educational programming. Shikho’s aim is to search out extra partaking and efficient methods to show college students materials from the Bangladesh Nationwide Curriculum.
“Not a lot has modified since my dad was in grade 10 when it comes to the syllabus,” stated Zakaria. “I’m not a politician, so I can’t result in change there, however I can change the way it’s delivered. We ship the curriculum in a means that has by no means been seen earlier than when it comes to the pedagogical expertise.”
Shikho launched a few yr earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic started, however that didn’t change its method to product growth as a result of it was at all times meant to be a web-based studying platform.
The corporate works with educators to create content material, together with animated movies that break down matters into quick segments of about six minutes every to assist college students be taught at their very own tempo. Every video is supplemented with digital assets known as good notes to exchange the guidebooks many college students purchase for learning, and observe questions with detailed options.
Shikho’s most important video content material is pre-recorded, however it can additionally launch reside lessons for its app and net portal in about six weeks. The corporate’s new funding will enable it to scale-up content material manufacturing, together with an app for folks.
One of many greatest challenges for on-line studying platforms is protecting college students motivated. Chowdhury stated Shikho’s gamification system was impressed by the Nike Run Membership app. Just like how Nike Run Membership customers get factors each time they go on a run, Shikho provides college students factors after they log in, do a take a look at or watch a video. The factors will be collected for milestones starting from newbie to “legend,” and particular badges are awarded for accomplishments like ending a take a look at shortly and precisely.
The purpose system additionally feeds right into a leaderboard, so college students can see what number of factors they’ve in comparison with different Shikho customers at their faculty, or on the whole app.
The app is free to make use of for seven days. One of many firm’s plans for its new funding is to launch extra freemium content material to extend person conversions into paying prospects. Chowdhury says that paying customers have excessive engagement charges, usually spending about 45 to 50 minutes every day within the app. Shikho plans to double-down on its person acquisition technique, together with offline gross sales groups in entrance of colleges, on the finish of the yr after launching its app for folks.
“College students are the customers and the precise prospects are their mother and father, so we’re acutely aware that we’re going to should flip communication to the mother and father,” stated Chowdhury. “That’s a part of what this funding spherical is for.”
In assertion about funding, Anchorless Bangladesh founding associate and CEO Rahat Ahmed stated, “Bangladesh has one of many largest allocations of personal schooling expenditure as a proportion of disposable revenue on this planet, however lags behind nations like India and Indonesia on the subject of edtech funding. The market is primed for progress and we imagine the staff at Shikho is well-fit to guide the cost and take schooling to the subsequent degree.”